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Monday, July 30, 2012

On a lighter note: Ravellenic Games are afoot!

 So...once again, it's time for the Summer Olympics - this time in London.

A few months ago, I noted the clever folks at Ravelry were, once again, planning the craft-along-with-the-Olympics I've enjoyed in years past. You cast on/start a new project during the opening ceremonies of the Olympics and you had to finish your project before the end of the closing ceremonies. 

However, this time 'round we're referring to the games formally known as the "Ravelympics" as the "Ravellenic Games".

Many of you are already well aware of the brouhaha inspired by the letter the US Olympic Committee sent to the spiffy folks at Raverly. They indicated that our Olympic-knit-along adventures could not bear an "Olympic" name without infringing on the US Olympic Trademark.

My thoughts on all that: I understand and agree with the Yarn Harlot's perspective and I truly appreciate her being the voice of wisdom to tone down some of the more passionate voices in the Ravelympics discussions on Twitter and Ravelry.
However, yes, I felt the letter from the US Olympic Committee was customized to Raverly (i.e. not quite a "form" letter as claimed) and was, in my opinion, very poorly phrased and ill-considered.
The first apology offered by the US Olympic group was in the same vein. {tsk}
The 2nd apology and follow-up comments by Patrick Sandusky on Twitter were more sincere and much more acceptable.

It was an interesting few weeks and our story was reported in a variety of major news venues, but, yes, the games formerly known as "Ravelympics" are now known as the Ravellenic Games.
The use of that name actually has a pretty spiffy origin: The Panhellenic Games of Greece. The Panhellenice Games is "the collective term for four separate sports festivals held in ancient Greece".

So...the Ravellenic Games are afoot and here are the projects/events I've entered:
1.) Squishy Cowl  Status: DONE!
Events: Cowl Jump, Synchronized Stash Busting, and Single Skein Sprint.

Started the afternoon of 7/27 and finished around noon 7/28:

I received two skeins of hand-spun Alpaca from a friend with a request that I knit something for her cousin, the spinner of said yarn & owner of the Alpacas from whence the fiber came (Gentle Breeze Alpaca Farm).

The first skein became a scarf and this skein became a cowl. I think the "Squishy Cowl" pattern is PERFECT for this yarn. The knitted results of these skeins will be shipped back to New York after washing/blocking.
(Please keep in mind I am short pretty much throughout my upper body and
this cowl should look much more graceful on the average person.)

2.) Baby Surprise Jacket Status: In Progress.
Events: Baby Dressage, Synchronized Stash Busting, Sweater Triathlon.

This clever jacket is knit into a interesting, curved, shaped mass that, when seamed in the appropriate places, ~Surprise~ becomes a baby jacket.
This pattern is offered a little like a "recipe" by the inestimable Elizabeth Zimmerman ("EZ") in several of her books.
I was a bit challenged getting past the first two rows. The placement of the stitch markers was boggling me. I found exactly the help I needed on the Raverly Baby Surprise Jacket Wiki page and I'm making some more headway now. (The stitch markers are re-positioned with each pattern row.)
CooPurr was "supervising my knitting the other night.
3.)  Little Brother's Tardis Socks Status: Waiting in the Wings.
Events: WIPS Wrestling

I started these socks in December 2012. This pattern offers me the opportunity to try a little stranded color work and make spiffy socks for the Little Brother.
I chose the pattern and bought the yarn plotting the eventual surprise for the New Year. However, when I measured the Little Brother's Feet, he glibly said "Oh, you're making me Dr. Who Socks."

I've half a mind to knit him Star Trek socks just out of spite! ;-)

This sock got stalled with a knotty challenge in addition to the hospital time from earlier this year.
I was at the base of the cuff when I found a knot in the yarn?!? I just needed a few more yards/rows to get to the color work section so rather than cut out the knot and join yarn in the 1st inch & a half of the sock, I started the cuff over.
And then I chose this project for the Ravellenic Games and the rules had a requirement that WIP (Works in Progress) entered in the Games not be worked on after May 15th. (That limit seemed a bit extreme, but them's the rules.).

So...Later this week, on a quiet evening, I plan to knit past the cuff and into my first stranded knitting in a real project.
Wish me luck!

Bonus - the African Violets are blooming:
 (Click to em-bigg-n).

Did you notice the dual "Creeps" that live in this pot?
Pleasant Dreams, all. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Fair Question. Unfortunately, I don't know the answer.

Disclaimer...essentially no knitterly, craft or kitty content in this post. 
And to quote a certain podcaster, this post "may prove to be a bit controversial". 

I listened to the Sticks & String Podcast, Show 179, by David Reidy this morning. He is an "Australian bloke who knits" and Sticks and String is one of my favorite podcasts. Today's podcast contained an essay on a subject that has been much on my mind of late: the recent vicious shooting in Colorado at the "Dark Knight Rises" movie premier.

Mr. Reidy prefaced the podcast in Twitter as "may prove to be a bit controversial".
The dialog in my head on this shooting - and the other shootings that have occurred in the last two decades - is definitely controversial.
It was very interesting to hear a near "everyman" perspective of this shooting from another country.
And some of his comments paralleled some of the thoughts that had been circling in my mind.

I replied to his "Show is uploading" tweet with a Twitter version of "War and Peace" - a four part tweet series:

"(1of4) Well, that is the most well-considered/delivered "rant" I've ever heard. It echoes some of my sorrow & concerns. I was raised
(2of4) in a military, hunting & NRA-loyal family & I went thru a Firearms Safety course at a young age. Guns are not toys, not for
(3of4)power-tripping, &certainly not for murdering movie-goers,schoolchildren or guy who cut you off in traffic. Retaining our"Right
 (3of4) to bear arms"loses it's Revolutionary merit when faced with such ignorance, insanity & abuse. Apologies for the mini-rant."

Obviously I struggled but overcame the "short" comment premise of Twitter.
I'm not sure why I felt it was important to reply to his tweet/podcast - and, honestly, the Australian bloke certainly didn't deserve the tweet barrage. Perhaps I'm attempting to verbalize the internal discussion I've been considering for years. And now it appears to be continuing as a blog-post.

The preceding tweets and the following blog-comments are not an answer to the fair questions posed by Mr. Reidy.
It is not even an answer to the questions doing laps in my brain.
So - what is this blog post? I don't know. We'll see.

In my opinion, Americans do seem to have a fascination with guns. Does this relate back to the Revolutionary beginnings of our still relatively young country?
Is it representative of our desire for independence? Is it sourced in a real desire to ensure that if we have to overthrow a corrupt government that we have the weaponry to do that?
Does it have to do with the cultural fascination with the "bad boy"/tough-guy/gang/"cool" image that seems to go with the television/movies/linguistical changes that seem to be gaining ground in the average American mentality?

I stalled here as my brain ranged over a variety of concerns/cultural effects...instant gratification and quick fixes, the road rage that supposedly stems from a lack of control in a person's life, the economy and poor financial practices that have left people world-wide without funds, homes or jobs as well as the fear and additional violence and thievery that these changes have inspired.
The focus on "reality" TV and the pursuit of some for their 15-minutes of fame or extreme wealth.
Then there's the memory of the  policeman visiting my vandalism-damaged home years ago and his considered opinion that we are raising generations of sociopaths.
And I have to wonder if the physical distance of our social networks feeds that lack of humanity and consideration of the effects of a person's actions on fellow human beings.

Are people more crazy than decades past? Or do we just get to hear about it more because of our 24x7 media looking for more news to "sell"?
In our efforts to grow and be more accepting of people's foibles, are we overlooking obvious signs of insanity?
Are we becoming too desensitized to violence because of the constant bombardment in media?
Are the same percentage of people crazy but more easily dangerous because of the casual approach to serious weaponry available to the public?

In hindsight, people are asking Why.
Why wasn't there more security?
Why isn't there more gun control?
Why were these types of weapons available to these people?
Why is there so much violence in TV & movies & media?
Why didn't "anyone" notice this person was so obviously a danger to others?

I don't know WHY.

What kind of person plots to go to a movie theater to corner and shoot people? To shoot 6-year olds?
To shoot a congresswoman and other innocent souls at a grocery store? 
To enter a school with plans to kill classmates or random children and teachers? 
To blow up or fly planes into buildings with absolutely no regard for human life? 
Sociopaths? Chemical imbalance? Evil?
And obviously people don't need guns to do profound damage. 

Why? There are too many variables to provide a black and white, clear cut answer/solution.
I know that this type of lunatic shooting event does happen in other countries, but they seem to happen more often in my country. It shouldn't happen at all but that it seems to happen more in the United States of America, a "Superpower", the "Land of the Free" would indicate we could be doing some of our freedom a bit better. Where do we draw the line in preserving rights and preserving safety?

I wish I could discuss this with my Dad. He was a man of profound opinions, but he would pleasantly surprise me (I'm ashamed to say) with wisdom, kindness, and acceptance on topics about which I "expected" a certain type of reply. But he passed on decades ago.

So...where else to look for wisdom?
I'm afraid I have little faith in the media and for the most part, very little faith in our elected officials.
I believe many of our decisions are too self-oriented, short-sighted and are rarely truly made for the greater good. And if decisions are made to assist all (and not a particularly group of lobbyists) the selfish hue and cry from the American masses shames me.

I do think President Obama has a good head on his shoulders and comments are being made about reducing gun violence. I will ask some uncomfortable questions of my elected officials and watch the answers carefully. And I will continue to vote and do what I can in my very small corner of the world.
It doesn't seem like much, though.

So what is this blog post?
Just a rant? My worrying written down in a feeble attempt to purge some of the horror and fear collecting in my mind from these terrible attacks?
Acknowledgement that the "right to bear arms" perspective I was raised with simply cannot apply to every person or to every type of "arms".
Further acknowledgement that although there are many many amazing and good things about my country...but that there are improvements to be made and terrible things that must stop.

This is...many things. A blog. A debriefing. Questions - many questions. Wishes. Conscience. Grief. Even a little hope. But not much for answers.

Friday, July 20, 2012

I'm up to the Sleeves! Ack, Yarn Shortage. Yay, Ravelry Miracle!

I've mentioned before that I've been knitting on a Swirl Jacket that I started in January with a a class at Kiwi Knitting (roughly a month before all the Hospital adventures began). The pattern is from Sandra McIver's "knit, Swirl!" book.
The premise and the book are VERY clever and well documented. The charts and illustrations appear a bit daunting at first glance, but they are invaluable and excellent support (even more so for me!).

With the excellent coaching and assistance of the ladies at Kiwi and a favored Knitterly Friend who lured me into the class (that would be YOU, Liz!), I'm up to the sleeves of this Swirl Coat. No small feat, I assure you!

On Ravelry, I'm calling my project the Scarlet Shade of Shades of Grey coat. I'm technically knitting the "Plum Perfect" pattern ('cause I am more short than tall), but I fell in love with the color stylings of the "Shades of Grey" Swirl coat: Dark grey with occasional single lines of knitting in scarlet - with a welt (4 rows) of knitting down the middle of the sleeves and an outside edge welt of scarlet.

I went stash-diving to see if I had anything suitable to knit swirly with and found a bag of lovely "Red Wine" heather Cascade 220 that had been intended for a vest (based on the pattern stuffed in with the yarn).
I have NO idea why I thought I would need 7 skeins of yarn for a vest, but there it was.
I needed just a couple hundred more yards to meet my swirl needs. I decided to follow the "Shades of Grey" premise but use heathered scarlet for the coat with accent lines in black.

I found a tactile black yarn for the accent knitting at Kiwi and cast on! And on...and on...and (I LOVE stitch markers!) knit the initial 3 rows.
The Liz applied her been-there, knit-that knowledge to help me layout the knitting to join it in the round without twisting and I started knitting in earnest, every chance I got.

There was a long pause in the swirl knitting whilst the Little Brother was in the Hospital. Due to the required Hospital outfit of gloves and gown, knitting was not a good option.
I seriously got back into knitting the jacket in June and quickly outgrew the largish bag in which I'd been storing/transporting the project. I then resorted to "luggage" for a project bag.

By late June, I'd slowed down...beginning to suspect that I was not going to have enough yarn. Based on the width of the sleeves when I'd just gotten to the middle welt (where the the 4 rows of black accent knitting would go)

I decided to remove 2 welts to make the sleeve less wide around and possibly resolve my yarn shortage.

By early July, I was irrationally stalling with the vague idea that if I knit slower ...there would be more yarn when I got closer to the end.

Yeah, not so much. At the last knit-in at Kiwi, I had to face the harsh reality that I had another 10 welts to go as well as seam up the jacket and I had maybe 1/2 a skein of yarn left.

I checked with the original yarn shop I'd bought the yarn from years ago - they didn't have that color. 2 more yarn shops didn't carry it and the 4th had some, but due to a change in the Cascade label numbering they had no idea if they had the color I needed.
I plotted a trip across town to look at what they had and then I decided I'd try Raverly first.

If you've been visiting the blog for a while, you might recall a blog from last year where I described some "de-stashing" inspired by a couple of ladies that were able to obtain yarn they needed by searching Raverly and finding it in my stash.

So....I searched the stashes on Raverly for Cascade Heathers, Color 9489, Dye Lot 6485.
There were 21 people who had stashed the Exact same Yarn and Dye Lot on Raverly. One of them was in Australia!!
I didn't pester the people who had more than 3 skeins (or who showed the yarn as used) but there were 8 people who had fewer skeins/yarn leftovers from bigger projects and I e-mailed them via Raverly, offering to purchase the yarn, trade, bake for them, donate to a favored charity in exchange for any unused yarn in this particular color/dye lot.

Within 5 days, 6 of the 8 responded.
All of these ladies were extremely kind, sympathized with my plight, and all wished me well on my yarn-y adventure (not listed in order of response):
Two offered to check their stash (the first was Smallfields411 and the 2nd was the lady from Australia).
The third indicated she'd used up the yarn but wished me good luck.
Another person's stash was still packed up from rearranging for a new baby.
Although the woman in Australia and a 6th knitter contacted me to also offer me scarlet yarn, I'd already accepted the offers of two other generous ladies:

Althea found she had (I thought) a 1/2 a skein and asked where to ship it! (When it arrived, it was actually closer to 2 skeins!!)
Althea's gift on the left, Smallfields411 deconstructed scarf-yarn on the right.
Much more yarn than I expected!
Smallfields411 got back to me after she checked her stash and offered me 3/4 of a skein that was left from a completed project - and then offered to de-construct the completed project so I could have the yarn (!?!). I balked at the idea of the completed scarf having to "sacrifice it's strands" so I could finish my swirl jacket. She reassured me (several times) that she was Not fond of the scarf in question, that she wouldn't wear it, wouldn't show it to folks, and would be perfectly content to pull it apart and ship me the resulting 2+ skeins of yarn. And she did just that!
(For the record, she showed me a picture of the scarf and the pattern may have been a bit bulky but it was neatly knit and very well constructed.)

So I'm up to the sleeves of my Swirl Jacket and by a miracle of Ravelry and the generosity of several extremely kind knitters with Excellent taste in yarn, the Swirl Jacket Yarn Shortage is over. 

I feel very lucky and blessed - and - I am very tickled with the idea that my jacket will carry the Karmic grace of these lovely, generous souls via their yarn.  
My thanks to all of the wondrous people who assisted me in this yarn quest. 

I have some knitting to do...and some baking and shipping. ;-)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Event Heads Up - "Can't Stop the Serenity"!

Guess what I've been knitting? Yep, more Jayne Hats for the Arizona Browncoats to auction off or use as raffle prizes at the next "Can't Stop the Serenity" Event!

(These are the hats I knitted for last year's event. This year's hats are still short pom poms and a current picture. I'll try to post current pictures later, although this year's hats look strikingly like last year's! ;-) )

Our local Arizona Browncoats group is again plotting to treat Tucson and Phoenix to a showing of "Serenity" to benefit Joss Whedon's charity of choice: "Equality Now, which works to end violence and discrimination against women and girls around the world."
A portion of the charitable screening earnings are often donated to local charities. The Arizona Browncoats have also donated to the "Women's Foundation of Southern Arizona (WFSA), a local Tucson organization devoted to helping women in need get back on their feet."

Sunday, September 16th in Phoenix at Studio Movie Grill Scottsdale.

Saturday, September 22nd in Tucson, at the Fox Theater at 6 PM. 

Based on the Fox Theatre's website, it appears "Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog" will also be shown with "Serenity"!
(Please pardon the "Ohh, Shiny!" moment - looks like Joss is planning a sequel to Dr. Horrible!)

Aside from the opportunity to enjoy some of Joss Whedon's best work in style at the Fox Theatre, we get to do some good with our ticket purchase and possibly via the Serenity/Sci-Fi inspired shopping opportunities in the lobby.

I think this is a Shindig not to be missed!

Monday, July 9, 2012

"Pay it Forward", Handcrafter style!

I have been all over the Internet this weekend.

  • Keeping tabs on the comments a couple of folks left to help me fulfill the 4-year Blogiversary pledge to donate to Doctors Without Borders for the first 4 comments left on that post. (2 down, 2 to go!)
  • Contacting folks on Ravelry who have the same great taste in yarn - who might not be using theirs and would be willing to let me adopt it so I could hope to finish the Swirl Coat in the same dye lot. (Yep, there's a whole 'nother blog).
  • Shopping for more yarn to make Jayne Hats for the local Browncoats group. 
  • And the above travels inspired several "Ohh, Shiny" side trips. 
One such side-trip to the blog of a spiffy soul I follow on Twitter led to several revelations, knitting envy/admiration, and...a "Pay it Forward" commitment, Handcrafter Style.

I'd met Olgalyn Jolly during a Twitter Knitchat discussion.
I got lost in her blog, "Knitting in the Fastlane", for a bit today. A hugely talented Designer and Machine Knitter, she creates lovely, complex stuff. And she knit SOCKs, her very first pair, on a knitting machine (no, not a sock knitting machine, a flat knitting machine)!!!). I think they are clever and charming and I might be most impressed with the research and samples she did!

One of her blogs presented a "Handcrafting and Pay it Forward" offer that intrigued me. I was lucky enough to be the 3rd commentor on her "Pay it Forward" Blog post so sometime in the next 365 days, I  can expect to receive a handmade gift by Olgalyn.

Thusly, I happily fulfill my commitment to make the same "Pay it Forward", Handcrafter style offer to you, dear blog-reader: 
  1. I will send a surprise gift to the first three commenters on this post. The gift will be handmade by me.  It will be sent sometime in the next 365 days. It will be a surprise.  We all love getting surprises in the mail, right?
  2. To sign up and receive a gift, you must play along, too. Pay it Forward on your blog, by promising to make a surprise for the first three people who comment on the post.
  3. You must have a blog (that is updated, as I will blog stalk you to find the right gift for you).
  4. After commenting here, you must repost this or something similar to your blog in 48 hours.  If not, I will chose the next person who comments.
The above idea and the majority of the verbiage relating to this offer are recycled from O!Jolly!, Jellidonut, PDXKnitterati, Eskimimi....(I followed the trail two blogs further back and stopped there, tickled that I was in very good company!).

Want to play with us?
If you'd like to receive a surprise, handmade-by-KiniaCat gift in your mailbox, please leave a comment on this blog post and be prepared to "Pay it Forward" within 48 hours on your own blog to make the same offer. Please also leave me a way to contact you so I can request your shipping information to effect the surprise within 365 days of your comment!
I am happy to ship Internationally but I might need some International shipping coaching. (Thanks!)

If you don't happen to be one of the first 3 commentors, please leave a comment anyway in case someone drops out. Don't give up if I have 3 bonafide commentors in my queue - consider visiting their blogs to see if you could comment to become one of their top 3 and "Pay it Forward" from there!

Come play and we can "Pay it Forward"!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Blogiversary - #4 to benefit Doctors Without Borders

Four Years.

Heck, this last year feels like 4 years all by itself. OK, not quite...but it's certainly been eventful.
It's interesting to look over the blog and see the changes from the last few years.

Changes in me too. And changes in my knowledge of blogging, podcasting, knitting, and the internet, as well as what I've learned of other countries from the bloggers and podcasters elsewhere in the world.
{grin} And of my many points of ignorance. S'ok, I'm trainable.

Lots to learn.
So many blog ideas, so little time.

Alright, here's a slightly different approach to this blogiversary.
Have you noticed the spiffy icon that appears to the left of the blog posts that looks lika dis:

I have supported Doctors Without Borders for years. I was tickled to find that many, many other knitters also support DWB, inspired by the Yarn Harlot's Knitters Without Borders fund raising drive that also started years ago.
This is particularly spiffy:
"Since it's inception, Knitters Without Borders has raised a staggering  $1,102,506"!!!!

In honor of my 4th year of blogging, I will donate $20.00 to Doctors Without Borders for the first comment left on this blog post and $10.00 for the next 3 comments left on this post. 
If I have access to your contact information, I will log the donation with Doctors Without Borders as a Tribute to you with my grateful thanks. (My comments don't count. {wry grin})
(Updated 7/14/12...Two comments were graciously left on this post and two donations have been made to Doctors Without Borders in tribute to those commentors! Two comments/donations left to fulfill my blogiversary pledge...do you feel a comment coming on?)

Of course :-),   if you'd like to go to the Doctors Without Borders Website or visit DWB via the Knitters Without Borders Website to post your very own donations, that would be a grand and lovely thing.
I'll let the Yarn Harlot know about our Blogiversary Donations to Doctors Without Borders.
If you drop off a donation yourself, please do let the Yarn Harlot know so the Knitters Without Borders donation tally can be updated!

Thank you for dropping by, comments or no...it has been amazing to see from whence people come to look at the blog. I am very tickled as local Tucsonians visit and gobsmacked that there are also visitors from all around the world. Amazing and humbling. The world is a vast place. Wow.

Blessings Be.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Independence Day!

Confession - this 4th of July, I stayed at home.

With all that's been happening, especially in the last 6 months, I am craving some down time.
Time to accomplish a few things around the house, do some exercise, blog, advance some knitting projects that are paused at need-thought points.
I love the Little Brother, the DH, and the friends with which I have been blessed but I do need some time alone.

ANYWAY...last 4th of July was an excellent day and a grand outing and there are many, many pictures! We got to ride in a parade too!
So, I'm going to celebrate this 4th both ways - at home accomplishing a few things and by reveling in the 2011 Benson Arizona Independence Day Parade (which is probably happening again this year, even as I type!).

A group of crafting ladies (including myself) were invited to ride on Benson's, then-very-new, "BAT" bus in the Benson 4th of July Parade.
(No, we weren't dignitaries - the bus driver is part of our craft group! I suspect the dignitaries hadn't yet figured out a key point. **)
The Brand New Benson Area Transit (BAT) Bus
The Benson's 4th of July parade is made up of a variety of motorized and non-motorized vehicles, horses, firetrucks, and many others that I didn't get to witness 'cause I was spectating from within the parade.
Here's the view as the parade participants lined up before the parade started.
The View out the Front
The View out the Back
Ok, I thought the views to the side were much more interesting where some of the Fire Trucks were lining up. (Ooooh - Firemen!) ;-)  (Click to make big the pics.)
No, Benson's Fire Department does not have this many trucks. The Fire Departments from the near-by communities come to join the parade and the festivities.


We weren't the only spectators of the Pre-Parade:
The signal was given and the Parade started. These folks were riding in style:

(So were we...we had Air Conditioning! **)

Now, the tradition of the parade is to throw candy to the folks watching the parade...and we had two young ladies taking care of that task (Perhaps a bit over-zealously....we ran out of candy not quite half way through the parade. And there may have been a bit of candy "litter" before the concept of "throw candy where there are kids sitting" had sunk in).

See the blur of flung candy just below the flag on the right? {grin}
The spectators came prepared (or improvised) ways to collect the thrown candy:

The rest of us smiled and waved at the folks watching the parade:

Yep, I was also knitting on one of a Mitt Envy pair that I later gifted to someone at Christmas.
After the parade, we took a tour of Benson (guided by 2 of the ladies that had lived there for many years). I did a poor job of taking photographs or jotting down the fun and interesting stories they told us.

We then arrived at the park where the various Fire Departments would be cooling the spectators, themselves, and demonstrating their prowess with Fire Hoses.

I have to wonder if the Firemen were tickled to get out the ladder truck....
hoist a hose up to the top and...
Gift folks with a bit of "Swamp Cooling":

But the ladder truck hose was only used for a very little bit....but the Firemen weren't done yet....

Know what this is for?

They finished setting up the hoses and tested the line pressure...
To the delight of the Arizona-Sunshine-Heated crowd:

Then the teams of firefighters from the various departments lined up, took up a hose, and did their level best to use the stream from the hose to push the barrel to the opposite edge of the wire, overcoming the other team's efforts to do the same.

 I lost track of how many teams there were...the contests seemed to end pretty quickly and then they started over again.

Amidst the barrel contests, the Firemen made sure their spectators did not get too warm:
 The crowd loved it! Especially the children. They danced and slid and splashed about - whether they'd come dressed for soaking or not.

It was a grand and lovely day, culminating in an indoor picnic with my crafting friends (stellar people and good cooks all)!

I hope you-all had even half as much fun today as I had at last year's Independence Day celebrations and accomplished even more than I did on today's "down-day" holiday.

And, please remember...true freedom isn't "free".
Love and thanks are offered to the many, many people that make our country and the blessings we enjoy possible.
Blessings and hope are offered to the people of the world that struggle against a lack of freedom.